CUYAHOGA FALLS — A “cop’s cop” who “loved” serving in law enforcement was one of four late officers who was honored at the police memorial service Wednesday morning.
The Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial & Honor Guard Foundation hosted its annual ceremony paying tribute to fallen officers in those communities. At each program, the names of retired officers who passed away during the previous calendar year are inscribed into the memorial wall at a site between the Natatorium and city hall.
This year, the names of Officer Charles E. Metzner, Officer Stanley S. Falcon, Officer Frank Gravatt and Officer Wester J. Watson were added to the memorial wall.
Officer Metzner died on March 9, 2018. Metzner served on the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department from 1958 through 1994.
Following historical research by the foundation, the names of Officers Falcon, Gravatt and Watson were engraved on to the memorial wall. All three worked for the Cuyahoga Falls Police Department. Mr. Falcon served from 1941 to 1959, Mr. Gravatt from 1929 to 1946 and Mr. Watson from 1920 to 1943.
Members of Metzner’s family were honored guests at the ceremony. Steve Amos, chairman of the Cuyahoga Falls and Silver Lake Police Memorial and Honor Guard Foundation, presented a police flag and plaque honoring Charles Metzner’s service to Mr. Metzner’s son,Terry.
Police Chief Jack Davis said he worked with Metzner, saying he was a “cop’s cop,” and adding he was “one of those guys that impressed you.”
“You knew he could handle the situation,” recalled Davis. “You knew if you were on a call with Chuck Metzner, it was going to go the way it should go.”
Davis drew some laughter from the hundreds in attendance when he remembered an occasion when Metzner yelled at him and “scared” him. Davis remembered that Metzner had worked the initial shift of the day and Davis was assigned to patrol from the same cruiser that Metzner was driving. Davis said recalled that Metzner pulled into the parking lot after responding to a late call.
“He gets out [of the cruiser] and he drops something and it was my fault that he had dropped something,” said Davis, who again drew laughter when he said, “I knew I will never stand outside the car waiting for Chuck Metzner again.”
The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Kent, president and Chief Operating Officer of Western Reserve Hospital, said Metzner was his patient and friend for two decades, and called him an “amazing” person.
As he looked at Metzner’s family sitting in the front row, Davis told Terry that he looked “just like” his father. Davis told the family members that Metzner “served with honor [and] dedicated 36 years of his life to keeping our city safe and that’s something you should all be proud of.”
After the ceremony, Terry Metzner said his dad “loved the job,” and was “very proud” of what he did.
Charles Metzner’s daughter, Tracy Shilling, said her father “bled blue,” and noted he attended the police memorial ceremony for the last eight years of his life. She noted she had never been be able to attend the service due to work and observed that it was a “beautiful ceremony.”
Terry Metzner and Shilling agreed that it was “such an honor” to see their late father recognized for his dedicated service.
Growing up in Cuyahoga Falls, Shilling remembered her dad often brought an officer-in-training home for dinner. Metzner described the police department as a “brotherhood’; “it was family,” he said.
Metzner and Shilling noted that their brother, Troy, passed away last year.
“I’m humbled and honored every year at this event,” stated Davis.”…It’s just great to be here, it’s great to see it and it’s great [that] people take time out of their day to honor those who have gone before us.”
At the same time, Davis noted attending the event gets “harder” every year because he worked with more of the people — such as Metzner — whose names are now being added to the memorial.
All of the officers whose names appear on the memorial deserve praise for their service to Cuyahoga Falls or Silver Lake, the chief said.
“They served not asking for a lot,” said Davis. ‘They took care of all of us. I grew up here, so I know I was well taken care of growing up here and I know my family is well taken care of living here now.”
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.